Best Feed for Draft Horse - 1st Time Owner Here

Discussion in 'Horse Health' started by avance7, Apr 16, 2012.

  1. avance7

    avance7 Senior Member

    Nov 23, 2010
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    We just bought our first draft horse over the weekend, a 16.2 h Percheron, not that tall but super thick and stocky. My local feed store sells both Nutrena & Purina brands. What would be the best for feed? I have read that draft should be on a low sugar diet but am having a hard time reading the labels. Can anyone suggest a specific feed type? He will be used mostly for light work and trail riding.
  2. prairiesongks

    prairiesongks Senior Member

    Jan 18, 2011
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    We have owned a Belgian hitch gelding for 14+ years, a little bigger than yours at 18.2 hands and 2200 lbs. Under light work, he does very well on just 24/7 pasture turnout with free access to hay. We do give him about 1/2 lb. of pellets twice a day just to keep him coming in so we can check him over for injuries and fly spray him. These gentle giants tend to be easy keepers, so unless yours needs the grain to maintain body condition, I would only feed him a good quality hay. The draft breeds normally have a lower metabolism so do not need as many calories per pound of horse that the light breeds do. If you are concerned about sugars, soak the hay for 20-30 minutes before feeding him to eliminate some of the sugars. Make sure he has a mineral block formulated for your area and lots of clean fresh water. Our Belgian drinks more than the 2 TWH's. Enjoy your Percheron--these big guys are amazing!
  3. nainai8505

    nainai8505 Senior Member

    Feb 18, 2009
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    I owned a senior Belgian mare. I gave her 4 flakes morning and night and she was put on a dry lot (barn only had dry lots). Each morning she would also receive her grain + 2-3 cups of oil, and msm. In the winter, I'd mix hay cubes into her grain/oil/msm mix and create a mash. The best book I ever bought was Draft Horses: An Owners Manual by Beth A. Valentine. You can pick it up off of for $32.00. I must have read that book every week for over a year and followed, then modified Bella's diet based on her needs + what the book stated + what other draft owners where feeding.
    When I moved Bella to the barn with the dry lots, she lost a trememdous amount of weight. The BO was feeding her the same amount of hay as you would feed a pony (1-2 flakes morning and night), and his own grain mix. I needed to take control to put back on all the muscle and weight she had lost. I pushed up the feed to 4 flakes morning and night and did the oil grain mix as stated above. I would also pick up all the lose hay on the floor and grab any severaly broken hay bales and threw that out to her when she was in the dry lot. BO didn't have an issue with saved him from doing it. The oil mix itself did amazing wonders to her coat and activity levels and just before she passed, I finally had her cantering and loping in the fields....something she just never had the energy to do before.
  4. Hugo7302

    Hugo7302 Senior Member

    Mar 13, 2012
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    I would start with grass hay. Drafts do not do well on a lot of alflalfa/protien, they can actually get a disease from it (name slips my mind). I wouldnt give him lots of sugar/starches, unless you do need a little bit more go (then Id go with oats, like a cup). Otherwise Ultra Kelp (for skin/hoof/and general health), ground flax seed (freshly ground everytime) about 1/2 cup, and oil. You dont really need a lot of fancy feeds... In fact the top three favorite supplements of mine are Glucosamine, MSM, and Ultra Kelp. Maybe through in a cup of soaked beatpulp (I use 1:3 ratio of beatpulp to water). It worked fine on my friends draft cross, and my large horse. Have fun with your new boy! :D
  5. Calimero

    Calimero Full Member

    Jun 19, 2005
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    Congrats on your big pony :) I love my clydesdales!!

    I feed for the big Girls 3 lb of Timothy pellets, Smartpak Smartvites and 0.5Lb of Ricebran plus unlimited Hay in the Turnout and then 3 Flakes Grass Hay at night.

    the coat is shiny and the hooves are awesome, with energy under saddle...
  6. JStorry

    JStorry Senior Member

    Dec 11, 2010
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    My Percheron cross gets a mix of alfalfa and grass hay, I fill the trough for 7 horses morning and night, he has access to hay almost 24/7
    It's very rare that the trough is empty between feedings. The grass is starting to grow now and he nibbles that.
    He's also got access to Hoffmans Mineral 24/7, a salt block with selenium and an iodine salt block as well.
  7. MiakodaAPBT

    MiakodaAPBT Senior Member

    Jan 19, 2011
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    I would try a ration balancer or a vitamin supplement such as SmartVite (mentioned above) from Smartpak.
  8. manesntails

    manesntails Senior Member

    May 21, 2010
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    I fed my older Percheron Mare Nutrena Triumph 11% and all the hay she wanted.

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